Adjuncting is expensive.
The ugly view on graduate programs in the humanities.
I fall into these categories of Benton's:
For me, I think my logic in applying to graduate schools is pretty strong, whatever the grim bleakness of the higher education picture.
They are excited by some subject and believe they have a deep, sustainable interest in it.
They can't find a position anywhere that uses the skills on which they most prided themselves in college. They are forced to learn about new things that don't interest them nearly as much.
With the prospect of an unappealing, entry-level job on the horizon, life in college becomes increasingly idealized.
*Getting on the tenure track is a fantasy.
*Professors never retire, so jobs don't open up. This is true.
*Money is evaporating in higher education.
*A "career" as a contingent worker/adjunct is humiliating, low-pay, and zero-benefits.
*The school loans can get so high.
*You haven't really worked outside of academia; you don't know if you actually like it.
The strongest pro arguments that I have are short-term:
*A decent TA job will offer similar pay and health insurance compared to teaching as an adjunct.
*Graduate school will put me on a "real" college campus -- a place with cultural events, people and potential friends that care about research and ideas, and a solid "counterculture" population. With luck, I will get into a "flagship" university, which is what University of Arizona is for fairly large population state.
Other pro arguments:
*I don't study art/literature/film/philosophy/history for the money.
*I don't value the things money can buy very much. (I don't even go out to eat since I learned how to cook decently.)
*Living in extreme modesty while working on a college campus is preferable to living comfortably in the suburbs (and so on).
*Decent graduate programs have free tuition plus a pittance to live on if one works as a TA; i.e. low dependence on school loans.
*In a cost/benefit analysis, the "lack of dignity" from low-pay, contingent teaching jobs is better than a decent-pay, middle-management-type jobs.
*The teacher "owns the classroom."
*Teaching is what I'm good at; it's my profession.
*If I can't get a English prof job at a liberal arts or research university, working at a community college is commendable and good. I'm not worried about being an adjunct forever.
*Why break the old dictum "do what you love; the rest will follow"?
*If it all falls apart, I will do what I need to get by and default on the loans.
These are my thoughts, and I think some of them might just be worth mentioning in a letter of interest in my application.